• December 1st, 2020

Covid-19 triggers online classes…ministry to provide learning material to disadvantaged learners

Over 20 000 teachers countrywide have indicated they have access to online learning tools and can connect to platforms such as WhatsApp, education minister Anna Nghipondoka said yesterday. This forms part of modalities laid out by the ministry to ensure teaching and learning continue amid the national Covid-19 lockdown. 
Nghipondoka said wherever teachers find themselves by the time of the lockdown nationally, although it is not at their duty stations, educators must join one another and teach learners. Namibia has more than 800 000 learners in both private and public schools, with a total number of more than 30 000 teachers nationally. 

However, not all teachers and learners have access to online learning, as some live in remote areas, where such connectivity is non-existent. 

For those less privileged in terms of online and e-learning, the ministry has come up with modalities to have production hubs at resource centres and schools, where worksheets will be produced and distributed to learners weekly, taking into consideration health protocols such as social distancing. 

She urged educators to start getting together and start teaching wherever they find themselves in Namibia for the next two weeks. She said over 13 000 learners, with the majority who are based in Khomas, are using online tools through the ministry’s learning platforms. The ministry of education deputy executive director responsible for formal education Eda Bohn said according to data collected from the 2019 education census, only 32% of Namibian schools would not have access to traditional telecommunications. 

About 18% have no electricity, 13% have no access to sanitation, while 11% have no access to water. “There is a plan to deploy water tanks to make water accessible to schools. These plans are submitted for costing and execution. The same applies to 250 schools without sanitation facilities; there will be renovations to be made,” she said. 
Nghipondoka also said plans are being developed to get power through solar systems to schools. If there are no lockdown extensions due to Covid-19, Nghipondoka said teachers are expected to be physically at schools. Further, she noted come 6 May when teachers return to schools physically, learners will still be required to remain home until further notice. 
In terms of hygiene, she said they would ensure they have a safe working environment. According to her, the ministry is looking for funds to ensure all schools have running water or water tanks, ablution facilities and soaps to wash the hands of learners and teachers. 

She said the ministry has instructed all education directors to make use of the available resources to prepare schools for teaching and learning in case the lockdown is lifted. 
About 370 000 learners used to benefit from the school feeding programmes where they are provided a meal per day. The ministry pledged to continue providing them with such meals and anticipate the number will increase. Therefore, she called on everyone to come on board and assist in this regard to feed the needy children.
– anakale@nepc.com.na 

Albertina Nakale
2020-04-17 10:35:28 | 7 months ago


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